Here’s Part 2 in our series of Spring Cleaning Your Finances. We’re not just looking for expenses and wasted money that’s lurking in neglected areas of our budget and in lazy spending habits, but also what to do about them! Here we'll talk about how to avoid credit card debt and save money on groceries.
How to Avoid Credit Card Debt
How you use your credit card will determine if it’s a flexible friend or a hungry foe that you need to keep feeding:
If you always carry a balance on your credit card, everything you buy will cost as much as 50% more. That means that a pair of $100 shoes will cost closer to $150 by the time interest and fees are added on. 30% off isn’t such a good deal if you end up paying 50% more.
Pull out your credit card statements from 3 years ago and look at your balances. Have they gone up or down compared to what you owe today? If they haven’t gone down, you need to take steps to get them down quickly, before another 3 year passes and the same amount of debt is still holding you back.
The credit card minimum payment myth: look on your statements and see how long it will take you to pay off your credit card balances if you only make minimum payments. Then look at your budget to find ways to double your minimum payments. Stop using the cards until they’re paid off.
Groceries keep getting more expensive, but there are steps you can take to make them as affordable as possible and save on what you buy. Some of the best and easiest tips we’ve found to save money on groceries are:
Create a grocery list ahead of time and stick to it. This can reduce your grocery bill by as much as 23%.
Shop with cash and leave the credit cards at home. Research shows this can save you 12% - 18%.
Save 10% - 20% by stocking up on groceries when they are on sale. The trick is that you need to buy things that you would normally use and can preserve safely, e.g. canned items, packed goods, or freezable food like meat and bread.
Write out a meal plan for at least half of the month. This will let you buy what’s on sale and use up what you already have in your cupboards. It will also ensure that you only shop once a week. Running to the store every day or two to get what you need, can turn into a lot of extra spending on what you want.
The Best Way to Save Money on Groceries and Avoid Credit Card Debt
The bottom line on how to save money on groceries and avoiding credit card debt? Every little bit counts, so rather than looking for one big way to save a ton of money, save in lots of small ways and set yourself up for success.
What tip can you add? Leave your comment below.